In April 1990, a group of community members met to discuss the growing need for affordable rental accommodation for families and singles in Nanaimo. Resulting from this meeting, a non-profit society was formed and the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society (NAHS) was incorporated under the Society Act of British Columbia on May 31, 1990. The Society then applied and received registered charity status from Revenue Canada. All donations to the work of the Society are tax deductible.
In 1995 the Society secured funding for a community housing registry and sponsored a project called, Community Housing Services. After a few years, funding was not renewed and operations were taken over by the Volunteer and Information Services Bureau.
As well as managing housing complexes, Nanaimo Affordable Housing is active in promoting the value and importance of affordable housing as well as participating in many community, regional, provincial, and national coalitions which focus on affordable housing.
NAHS participates regularly in networking sessions with other housing providers and has served as a mentor for other housing providers in the North Island and Sunshine Coast. NAHS has remained an active member of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) which is the strategic planning and service organization representing over 500 non-profit housing operators around the Province. NAHS involvement has brought the needs of smaller communities and the importance of supportive housing to the Provincial housing policy table. NAHS is also a member of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) which is the national housing advocacy organization. This membership helps us to keep informed of resources and trends throughout the country.
NAHS sits as a member of the Social Work community advisory committee of VIU and has delivered various presentations on Social Housing to students who are pursuing social work as a career. NAHS believes that it is important to introduce these students to social housing as a vital and vibrant employment sector. As more employment opportunities in the sector come available in this community and around the province, it will be increasingly important that we start to grow the interest in and understanding of what social housing is about.
An informal role that NAHS provides is as an information source for affordable housing in the community. NAHS is often the first place that people contact for information on affordable housing available in Nanaimo. On average, the Society gets over 50 calls per month from families, seniors, and single people who are trying to find affordable housing. The “Housing Options” section of the website, which includes information about all of the subsidized and affordable non-profit housing options in Nanaimo, was developed in response to these regular inquiries.
Because of the recognition that has been received for the work that NAHS has done on research and evaluation, NAHS has been invited to participate in Provincial and National Research Initiatives, the latest one involves a growing concern about food security for individuals living on fixed or low incomes. NAHS staff have also participated in and presented at forums focusing on this topic.
1597 Boundary Crescent has 24/7 support staffing provided by Vancouver Island Mental Health Society and Haven Society.
A new complex is now under development which, when completed, will add an additional 140 units for seniors at the Buttertubs site. Phase 1, 80 units, is scheduled to open in the spring of 2019.